Gauteng’s first open tender, announced with much fanfare by Finance MEC Barbara Creecy and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi, late last year, turned out to be not so open after all. Indeed, it appears that this test has failed.
The R500 million Cedar Road tender, for which bids close today, had more elements of a search for a needle in a haystack than being the true test for transparency and accountability within government.
A thorough search of both the Department of Finance and Transports websites turned up no accessible link to the tender or its documents.
At R500 million, one would imagine that as much information as possible would be made available to potential bidders, and that links to the tender document would be highly visible on at least the home page of both departments’ websites.
The DA had obtained a copy of the tender document, and it is clear that emerging business bids would not be considered, as only contractors with a Construction Industry Development Board service rating of 8CE or higher are encouraged to apply.
While the DA welcomed the announcement of an open tender process, which we have calling for at length, we are not encouraged by how it has been administered so far.
If both MECs Creecy and Vadi are serious about the transparency of this tender, they should do the following when tender submissions close today:
- Make the opening of the tender submissions box a public event. In doing so they will avoid running the risk of including late submissions;
- When the Bid Adjudication Committee is established, publically announce the members of the committee and their credentials as to why they were chosen;
- A complete list of all bidders that applied for the tender to be made public, not just the successful candidate;
- The credentials of the successful bidder/s, as well as the scorecard which determined their suitability.
We also call on the MECs to provide us with specific timelines, dates and times when each of the above takes place, and create specific pages on both department websites for ease of tracking and viewing.
The DA will closely monitor the manner in which this tender and others to follow are administered.
Mike Moriarty MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Finance
082 492 4410